Fremont County pays $2.4 million in unlawful arrest case

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Fremont County paid Carolyn O’Neal the sum of $2.4 million in a settlement from a case dating back to May 2016.

In May 2014, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office deputies allegedly dragged O’Neal from the homeless transitional housing program facility she was residing at in Cañon City.

“The police were called by management, her mother was dying, she was depressed, and she made some offhand statement about ‘Things are going so great, I feel like I should drive my car off a cliff,’ said O’Neal’s attorney, David Lane, who added that his client suffers from PTSD, among other mental health issues.

Deputies then jailed her naked, put her in restraints for hours and tased her.

The lawsuit filed against the sheriff’s department for violating O’Neal’s rights said deputies later admitted O’Neal should have been taken to a hospital and not jail.

A judge dismissed charges against O’Neal for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for “offensive utterances.”

A decision on a settlement for approximately $3.6 million was announced in April 2019 but then reduced by the court.

Both sides appealed when the court reduced it to $1.7 million in damages and approximately $400,000 in fees and costs.  

Fremont County dismissed their appeal and paid O’Neal $2.4 million last week. 

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